Nutritive and Sentient Soul in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals 2.5

In: Phronesis
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  • 1 Birkbeck, University of London

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Abstract

This paper argues that focusing on Aristotle’s theory of generation as primarily ‘hylomorphic’ can lead to difficulties. This is especially evident when interpreting the association between the male and sentient soul at GA 2.5. If the focus is on the male’s contribution as form and the female’s as matter, then soul becomes divided into nutritive from female and sentient from male which makes little sense in Aristotle’s biological ontology. In contrast, by seeing Aristotle’s theory as ‘archēkinētic’, a process initiated by the male, the development of nutritive and sentient capacities emerges as intertwined, neither capacity originating in only one sex.

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